Alumni Award Recipients: 2010

Columbia College honored several outstanding alumni with distinguished, community and professional achievement awards at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner, Saturday, April 24, 2010. The awards recognize the exemplary accomplishments of Christian College and Columbia College alumni.

Distinguished Alumni Award

For attaining outstanding regional and national recognition in one’s chosen career field.

H. Jane Blackman, M.D. '64

Jane graduated from Christian College with honors, and earned first a bachelor’s degree then an M.D. from Indiana University. She interned at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco in 1970 and had her residency in ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin in 1973. She was a fellow in uveitis (swelling and irritation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye) and external diseases at the Francis J. Proctor Foundation, University of California-San Francisco, from 1974-76; and a senior fellow at the National Eye Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., from 1976-78. She was chair of the ophthalmology department at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Washington, D.C., from 1994-2004.

Jane has been a volunteer at the Naval Academy’s eye clinic, Annapolis, Md., and made three trips to work in a cataract clinic for the indigent in San Fabian, the Philippines. She also has worked 25 years in the Uveitis Clinic at the National Eye Institute and taught a basic science course at the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

She received a National Eye Institute teaching award for her work at the Washington Hospital Center, and a Prevention of Blindness Service Award.Jane h ad a private ophthalmology practice in Washington, D.C., from 1978-2004 and now works part-time.

Of her years at Christian College, Jane says her most difficult course was clothing construction and says, “I was the only pupil in organic chemistry and couldn’t doze off!”

Both her aunt, Catherine Lybrook Yoke ’49 and sister, Judy Ann Blackman Harvell ’62, also attended Christian College. Jane is married to neurologist John H. Lossing, M.D. and the couple have two children, Robert, pursuing a master’s degree at Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado; and Rebecca, who will start veterinary school this fall. Jane currently lives in Kensington, Maryland, just outside the Capital Beltway.

Professional Achievement Award

For attaining outstanding regional and national recognition in one's chosen career field.

William H. Leeper '04

Bill graduated from the Florida Highway Patrol Academy and earned associate degrees from Vincennes University (A.S.), Vincennes, Ind., and Florida Community College of Jacksonville (A.A.) before attending and graduating from Columbia College. He has been a Florida state trooper for more than 33 years and has spent the past 16 years as Troop G’s public affairs officer and media spokesperson for nine counties in northeast Florida.

Bill also has the unique distinction of having been drafted as a catcher out of high school and played professional baseball in the New York Mets minor league system. Bill’s story is such an inspirational one that he was chosen to be a guest speaker at Columbia College–NAS Jacksonville’s grand opening in 2006.

Bill was elected city commissioner and mayor (twice) of Fernandina Beach, Fla. He presently serves as president of the Northeast Florida Safety Council Board of Directors and chair of the Nassau County Community Traffic Safety Team. Bill also serves on the nonprofit boards of ARC (serving those with developmental disabilities) and Micah’s Place (battered women shelter). Among his many honors and awards are Florida State Traffic Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 1995, Florida’s Public Information Officer of the year for 2008 and the International Association of Chiefs of Police J. Stannard Baker Award in 2009, the highest and most prestigious individual award given for traffic safety. Bill is the first law enforcement officer in the state of Florida to receive this award.

Bill and Emma Leeper, with their son, Jordan, and daughter, Chelsea, live in Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Of his Columbia College experience, Bill says it allowed him to complete a lifelong dream of being the first in his family to obtain a four-year degree.

Ronald A. Potts '05 & 09

Ronny has an outstanding law enforcement career that spans nearly 30 years. He started his law enforcement career at age 15 as a police explorer and rose to sergeant. He received an interdisciplinary studies degree from Columbia College in 2005 with a double major in general studies and criminal justice and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration in 2009, graduating cum laude. Ronny has also spent time in administration, police finance; on patrol, in a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team; in training, recruiting, investigations and community policing.

After 9/11, Ronny applied and was accepted into the Federal Air Marshal Service while attending Columbia College, receiving top security clearance. Marshals are assigned to U.S. air carriers for protection against terrorist attacks and enforcement of federal laws, and Ronny has since traveled all over the country and abroad.

In his long and distinguished career, Ronny has served the police departments of Round Rock and Clifton, Texas in background investigations; as a SWAT team squad leader; as a law enforcement instructor at the University of Texas in Austin and throughout the state; as a major incident commander managing crime scenes; a plainclothes armed executive personal protection specialist (24-hour assignments); and as a training/recruiting sergeant.

He has received over 30 awards and commendations in his career, including the Life Saving Bar, Meritorious Bar of Conduct, Outstanding Service and Achievement Awards and the Advanced SWAT Medal. He was Round Rock’s most decorated officer in 1999. Ronny also holds certifications in background investigation, chemical weapons instruction, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education instruction, basic and advanced SWAT and submachine guns.

He also volunteers as a little league football and baseball coach for his son’s team and is a big supporter of both daughters’ school and sports events, including volleyball.

Ronny is married to Theresa Potts. They live in Roanoke, Texas, about 35 miles northwest of Dallas, and have two daughters, Kacie and Abby, and one son, Zachary.

His wife, Theresa, says, “I believe he is a true symbol of professional achievement and community service … his determination and dedication through traveling all over the world in the service of his country and spending time away from his family has caused me many sleepless nights.”

Columbia College Service Award

For significant contributions and service to Columbia College.

Joe Reardon '93

Joe graduated from Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, emphasis finance, in 1993, and received Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification in 2002. He has achieved president’s council status every year since 2004 in his career as a financial advisor and consultant. Joe was named senior vice president of investments at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc., a regional financial services firm, in 2007. Joe believes education is critical as he works closely with his clients to educate and help them make informed choices about their finances and their financial future.

Joe has performed exemplary service to Columbia College over the years as president-elect of the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA) from 2001-03, president from 2003-05 and immediate past president from 2005-07. He was also active in the visioning process, serving as chair of the CCAA Visibility and Credibility Committee from 2009-10. He is also a long-term member of the St. Clair Society. While serving on the board, he was committed to raising awareness about the CCAA and making the association an organization that ties and unites all Columbia College alumni together. While serving as president of the board, the association made a financial commitment to the college and named the passageway between the Atkins-Holman Student Commons and Missouri Hall the CCAA Gallery. He thinks this is an important gift in that the association should always take a leadership role in not only serving the alumni of Columbia College but the college itself. He also thinks this reflects the alumni association’s motto of “Tradition Guiding the Future” as it links Missouri Hall (tradition) and Atkins-Holman Student Commons (future growth). Joe has also served on the Boone County Endowed Scholarship Fund drive and regularly comes to Columbia College to share his expertise in financial planning with the college’s senior leadership and with students. 

If his smiling face looks familiar, that’s because Joe has appeared in several Columbia College ads. 

Of his Columbia College experience, Joe writes that he was able to get an education while working, “enabling me to continue to get practical experience in my chosen career field and my degree at the same time. It also allowed me to immediately put into practice what I was learning.”

He lives in Columbia, Mo., with his wife, Kimberly, and his daughter, Abigail, 6. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with Kim and Abigail.

Community Service Award

For demonstrating outstanding leadership and service to the citizens of one's  community.

Larry McDaniel '93

Larry is executive director of Coyote Hill in Harrisburg, Mo., a home of love for abused and neglected children and for children whose families just need a chance to regroup and get a fresh start. Coyote Hill began with Larry and his wife as foster parents in 1991, then as a foster family group home. It is now a multi-home, state-licensed residential care facility on 150 acres of rolling hills and farmland that can heal up to 24 children at a time.

Coyote Hill is a safe and healthy place for children to grow, learn, laugh, love and to understand what it means to have a life that is full and complete. The facility encourages gardening, fishing, horse riding, tending small herds of cattle and goats; these activities help heal and nurture distressed children. Coyote Hill also provides licensed counseling and professional social services.

The facility has been recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption Program, honoring individuals or entities that have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes. It was also honored by a Missouri House of Representatives resolution, and Larry and his wife Denise were awarded the Excellence in Parenting Award by the National Parents’ Day Council.

Larry earned his degree in social work and went on to the master’s program in social work at the University of Missouri–Columbia. Today, he continues his association with Columbia College as a member of the faculty, teaching human services, child welfare and other courses in the Evening and Online campuses. He also is a frequent speaker at area churches and community groups on child abuse and neglect.

Of his work at Coyote Hill and Columbia College, Larry says, “It is important to me to pass on the knowledge and expertise needed to help others in time of need.”

Larry and Denise are part of a family of nine who live in Columbia, Missouri.

Ron Stallworth '05 & '07

Ron has been a nationally recognized gang expert for two decades and is co-chair of the Salt Lake City Gang Reduction Steering Committee. He enjoyed a 32-year law enforcement career in Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming, working as a uniformed patrolman and undercover investigator in vice, criminal intelligence, organized crime, narcotics and criminal street gangs. He retired in 2005 after 20 years of service with the Utah Department of Public Safety.

During his extraordinary career, Ron received an official commendation from the Colorado attorney-general and two distinguished service awards from the Utah Department of Public Safety; was instrumental in establishing the Salt Lake City Area Gang Project, the first multi-jurisdictional gang suppression and diversion task force in Utah; was selected to be the state’s first and to date only gang intelligence coordinator; testified before Congress three times and authored four books on street gang culture and youth violence in America.

For this outstanding body of work, Ron received two gubernatorial committee appointments and in 1998, the National Gang Crime Research Center presented Ron with the Frederick Milton Thrasher Award for outstanding contributions to scholarship, service and innovation in gang research.

Ron, an African American, also received national media attention a few years ago for infiltrating the Colorado Springs, Colo., chapter of the KKK. He still carries his David Duke- signed KKK card in his wallet.

Ron also has a long and distinguished history of community service to the people of Utah. In 1999, he was appointed to a six-year term as Layton parks and recreation commissioner, and from 2004-09 was a Layton city planning commissioner. From 2002-04, he served on the board of trustees of the Layton Community Action Council as neighborhood watch program director and has been head coach of Layton parks and recreation’s track and field program since 1996, growing that program from 30 participants in 1996 to 220 in 2010.

In 2001, Ron received a gubernatorial appointment to the Black Advisory Council of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, serving six years including two as chair. He also was a founding member of the Utah Black Leadership Forum, a coalition of professionals devoted to improving the quality of life, professional and economic opportunity for Utah’s African American citizens. In 2003, Utah’s governor nominated Ron to be one of six Utah reps to the African-American Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

Ron also has made significant contributions to higher education. In the early 1990s, he served as chair of the Utah Peace Officer Standards & Training Minority Scholarship and in 2008 became a founding member of the Pastor France A. Davis Scholarship Fund, a higher education fund for minority students. He also established the Ron and Micki Stallworth Criminal Justice Scholarship in honor of his late wife Micki at Columbia College–Salt Lake. It was she who always urged him to go back to college and get his degree.

Ron lives in Layton, Utah, and has two sons, Brandon and Nicolas. He is an adjunct criminal justice instructor at Salt Lake Community College and Eagle Gate College.

Honorary Alumnus Award

Stephen C. Bay

Steve began his tenure at Columbia College in May 1994 as assistant manager with AmeriServe. He was promoted to director of Food Services in 1998.

Steve and his staff are repeatedly recognized and appreciated for their outstanding food service by groups like the Missouri Bar Association, the American Cancer Society, the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri/Professional Leaders Auxiliary as well as the Columbia College Board of Trustees and Columbia College Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Recognized among peers for his enthusiasm, willingness to help with events and commitment to customer satisfaction, Steve is highly self-motivated and always looking to improve and stay current with the latest trends in culinary arts. He is respected for his skill and the flair he brings to every presentation.

For his 15-year anniversary with Columbia College, First Lady Bonnie Brouder presented Steve with a golden chef’s hat at the annual Employee Appreciation Luncheon. He was the only employee to receive a standing ovation. His passion, loyalty and exemplary service to the college are why Steve has been selected to join the Columbia College Alumni Association as the 2010 Honorary Alumnus Award recipient. Terry Orf, president of AmeriServe, Inc. says, “Steve is absolutely dedicated to, and loves the Columbia College community. I think he may bleed Columbia College BLUE!”